Fireplace Safety Tips for Winter

As winter approaches, families across the country are looking for safe ways to keep warm including lighting up the fireplace. These tips from FLASH and the US Fire Administration will help you keep your family safe and warm this winter season.

Fireplace Safety

Before You Light the First Fire
Before you light your first fire of the season, be sure you have completed these safety steps:

  • Have your chimney or wood stove inspected and cleaned annually by a certified chimney specialist.
  • Clear the area around the hearth of debris, decorations and flammable materials.
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and inside and outside of sleeping areas. Test them monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.
  • Provide proper venting systems for all heating equipment. Make sure all vent pipes extend at least three feet above the roof.

Fireplace Safety Tips
While enjoying your fire all winter, be sure that each fire is as safe as it is warm:

  • If you have glass doors, leave them open while burning a fire so that the fire receives enough air to ensure complete combustion and keep creosote from building up in the chimney.
  • Always use a metal mesh screen with fireplaces that do not have a glass fireplace door.
  • Never use flammable liquids to start a fire and use only seasoned hardwood. Never burn cardboard boxes, trash, charcoal or debris in your fireplace or wood stove.
  • Build small fires that burn completely and produce less smoke.
  • When building a fire, place logs at the rear of the fireplace on an adequate supporting grate.
  • Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Extinguish the fire before going to bed or leaving your home.
  • Keep air inlets on wood stoves open and never restrict air supply to fireplaces. Otherwise you may cause creosote buildup that could lead to a chimney fire.

These resources and a lot more will be available as a part of the FLASH Great Winter Weather Party set to launch in early December. Stay tuned for details!